It’s the hottest new trend in the running world: backwards running or ‘retrorunning,’ is the sport of, well, running backwards. You’ve walked backwards before, and maybe even did a quick backward jog as a joke. But in your mind’s eye you could see yourself losing your rhythm, tripping backwards, and cracking the back of your skull on the sidewalk (or at least bruising your elbows). Not exactly an adult’s sport of choice – that is until the revitalization of retrorunning over the past few years.
In fact, the sport’s increasing popularity inspired this year’s UK First Annual Backwards Running Championships. The gates were packed with 35 of the United Kingdom’s finest retrorunners, ready for the 3,000 meter (1 mile) dash to the finish. The competition was staged at Heaton Park in Manchester, and the winner of the race — with a time of 6 minutes and 30 seconds — was Irishman Garret Doherty— a man not ashamed to look over his shoulder. Doherty is no stranger to the retrorunning world, having won the 5,000-meter Austrian title in 22 minutes flat. The winner of the women’s side of the event was Rachel Butterfield from Hartlepool with a time of 12 minutes and 40 seconds.
James Bramber of reverserunning.com, the event sponsor, hopes that the race will eventually make it’s way to London as the sport continues to grow in popularity. To get an idea of what retrorunning looks like, check out this relay race held in Germany. You may have to watch it twice, just to be sure they’re not playing it backwards on you.